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“Measles Outbreak at Manatee Bay Elementary School Raises Concerns in Broward County, Florida”

Measles Outbreak at Manatee Bay Elementary School Raises Concerns in Broward County, Florida

The quiet town of Weston in Broward County, Florida, has been hit with a measles outbreak that has raised concerns among parents and officials. Manatee Bay Elementary School, located in Weston, has seen a steady rise in the number of measles cases among its students. As the number of cases continues to increase, the state has taken measures to address the situation.

The Florida Surgeon General, Joseph Ladapo, issued a letter to the parents and guardians of students at Manatee Bay Elementary. In the letter, Ladapo recommended that individuals without a history of prior infection or vaccination stay home for up to 21 days, as this is the period during which the virus can be transmitted. However, he also stated that the state is leaving the decision about school attendance up to the parents or guardians.

The school district shared this letter with the families of Manatee Bay students, causing concern among parents. The fear of the virus spreading has led to a significant number of absences at the school. On Tuesday, more than 20% of students, amounting to 219 out of 1,067, were absent from class. Additionally, six staff members were also absent due to concerns over the virus.

To address these concerns and reassure parents, Broward Superintendent Peter Licata visited Manatee Bay Elementary School. Licata emphasized that the school is safe for students who have been vaccinated. He also highlighted the district’s efforts in maintaining cleanliness and changing air filters to prevent further spread of the virus. Manatee Bay currently has a vaccination rate of around 92%, with only 33 out of 1,067 students lacking the required MMR vaccine.

While Florida public schools mandate two doses of the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for attendance, parents can seek religious or medical exemptions. This has raised concerns about declining vaccination rates, not only in South Florida but also globally. The recent surge in measles cases worldwide has been attributed to lower vaccination rates.

Dr. Ron Ford, the chief medical officer at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, emphasized the importance of vaccines in preventing diseases in children. He explained that the combination of a virus and a vulnerable population is what leads to outbreaks like the one at Manatee Bay Elementary.

Amidst the outbreak, Broward County School Board member Allen Zeman called for the local health department to take charge of determining who should stay home and who can attend school. He also highlighted the authority of Broward Schools to shut down schools, including middle and high schools where siblings of affected students attend.

Broward County School Board member Sarah Leonardi expressed disappointment in the Department of Health’s response, stating that she had hoped they would take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the disease, which can have severe consequences.

As the situation unfolds, it remains uncertain whether Manatee Bay Elementary School will be closed if the number of cases continues to rise. The Florida Department of Health is working to limit the spread of the virus and isolate infected patients who are likely unvaccinated.

The measles outbreak at Manatee Bay Elementary School serves as a reminder of the importance of vaccinations in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. It also highlights the need for collaboration between health departments and educational institutions to ensure the safety and well-being of students.


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